Mold growth in your home may seem like nothing more than a messy inconvenience, but it can be a serious health hazard. Indoor mold growth is caused by high moisture levels, so it is a big concern in places with high humidity like Virginia. Check out these basic mold facts to keep your home dry and your family healthy.
It would be impossible to remove all mold spores from the air inside your home. The practical way to prevent indoor mold growth is to reduce humidity levels. Ideal humidity levels are between 30-60%.
- Make sure that bathrooms, dryers, and other sources of moisture are vented to the outside. Remember to turn on your vent fan after a shower or bath.
- Use air conditioners and dehumidifiers to keep the moist air outside where it belongs. This is especially important during the summer.
- Find ways to increase ventilation if it appears any source of moisture in your home is not drying adequately after use.
Keep It Dry
In addition to reducing humidity in the home, it is important to take steps to keep things dry and eliminate sources of moisture.
- Rooms with a water sources such as bathrooms or kitchens should not be carpeted. Moisture will almost inevitably gather in carpet near a water source, so tile or another hard surface that can be easily cleaned is a better choice.
- Take steps to prevent condensation on exterior areas of the home like windows and walls. This moisture can seep into the walls and provide an environment for mold growth. Proper insulation should solve condensation problems.
- If any water damage occurs in your home, it is important to dry the area within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
Clean It Up
If you find a small mold problem, you can probably deal with it on your own without calling a professional. However, it is important to do your research before trying to clean up mold.
- DO NOT spray bleach or other harsh chemicals on the mold. This may seem like an obvious solution, but dead mold spores are just as hazardous as living ones. Spraying anything on the mold will cause spores to enter the air where they can be inhaled.
- Focus on removing mold spores entirely instead. For hard surfaces, you can scrub mold using normal detergent and a damp cloth or sponge. Make sure the mold is completely gone or regrowth can occur.
- Absorbent materials like carpet and some ceiling tiles may need to be replaced.
- If you have any doubts about the safety of cleaning up mold yourself, consult with a professional who can give you further guidance.
Mold growth can be a serious health hazard, especially if it gets into walls or other areas that cannot be reached by normal cleaning. Watch for signs of new or worsening allergic reactions or respiratory conditions. Mold can also cause skin rashes and other immune-related symptoms. Children, the elderly, people with compromised immune systems, and those with existing asthma conditions are at highest risk for mold-related illness. If you or your family members start displaying these types of symptoms, check your home for sources of moisture and mold growth.
Get It Fixed
If you identify a source of moisture and mold growth such as a leak, it is important to get it repaired. Large areas of mold growth will also need to be addressed by a professional. If you rent a house or apartment, your landlord must remedy any mold problems. Due to the high health risk associated with mold, Virginia law is very clear about this. If your landlord does not address mold issues, you should speak to an attorney who specializes in mold litigation.
Don’t forget to share with friends and family! If you think you or a loved one may have a mold claim, contact Geoff McDonald & Associates at (804) 888-8888.